Joey Gabieta

Inquirer.net

TACLOBAN CITY – Palo Archbishop John Du is appealing to candidates not to resort to vote buying amid reports that the buying rates for votes in Eastern Visayas ranged from P20 to P3,000 per voter.

He asked the candidates to observe clean and honest elections as the region’s more than three million voters were expected to troop to the precincts on Monday to select their candidates for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan chairs and councilors.

“To the candidates, please be peaceful; please don’t use vote –buying and just let the people chose whom they want. Allow them to really give them their choice,” the prelate said in a voice clip released by his secretary, Fr. Chris Militante on Saturday afternoon.

Du also asked the voters to choose the best and most honest, dedicated and sincere candidates for the positions.

Reports of vote-buying had been noted in various parts of Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte and Biliran ranging from P20 up to P3,000 per voter.

As early as Friday, vote-buying was reported in Tacloban City, Leyte.

In one village, the rates ranged from P50 for barangay councilor and P1,000 for barangay captain. But in another village, it was more of a package deal – P1,200 for the entire slate.

In Barugo town, Leyte, the rates were higher – P100 for councilor and P1,500 for barangay captain.

The highest rates were in Matuguinao town, Samar, where votes for barangay captain were priced at P3,000 per voter and P100 for councilor.

Other areas where vote buying reportedly occurred were Sogod town in Southern Leyte and parts of Biliran province, P100 for councilor and P500 for barangay chair; P20 for barangay councilor and P500 for chair in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar; P300 for councilor and P1,000 for barangay captain in Northern Samar; and P100 for each SK post.

There were candidates who offered goods instead of cash in Leyte – one kilo of rice and two canned goods. /cbb

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